By Rachel Yasmineh
I don’t usually say that I regret much in my life because I think that all my experiences have led me to where I am as a person.
Looking back at my university experience, there are certain things I regret not doing. So, if I could go back and tell my 19-21 year old self anything, it would be this:
1. Take your time
If it takes 4 years to do your 3 year degree, that’s fine! You’ll be working until you are 65 (or older). Spending a year or two longer studying and figuring out what you like to do will set you a much better foundation than rushing through it. There is no rush and there is no competition to finish first.
2. Get involved
In everything. When you talk to someone about their most memorable moments at university, I highly doubt they’ll tell you about the hours where they are bored out of their brains by a lecturer who spent the whole class reading from the PowerPoint slides. I wish that I had joined and participated in an active club or society. Or joined a leadership program. Did you know that there are leadership programs at UTS that will take you overseas during the break, to do projects? I wish that existed when I was at uni.
3. Go on exchange…
…or do international studies as part of your degree. I was an exchange student in high school and it was one of the best things I have ever done. Unfortunately, I found out about the exchange program in my last year of uni when it was too late.
4. Get a job in your goal industry
The next one pains me to say (mostly because I was given this advice and I ignored it): Get a job in your goal industry, so your work experience compliments your study directly. I studied tourism and worked in retail (women’s fashion). I looked great, but it would have been better if my work complimented my studies. I definitely gained transferable skills from retail (verbal communication; customer service; staff management; time management), but experience in an industry when applying for grad roles is pure gold.
5. Complete an internship. Then complete another internship.
I did an internship at uni, but only because it was one of my subjects. Literally, it was called ‘Professional Internship’. If it wasn’t a subject, I wouldn’t have done it and that would have been tragic. It was by far the best part of my university degree. It was also the most impressive item on my resume when I finished uni; I wish I had done ten of them!
6. Ask for help
Uni is hard. It’s really hard. You should be very proud of yourself for making it in to university as not everyone does. I often think you should be given a certificate that says ‘I survived my undergraduate studies’ along with your testamur when you graduate. What I didn’t do enough when I was at uni, was ask for help. I only started asking in my final year, which was too little too late. I generated a lot of unnecessary headaches and ugly stress faces by not asking for help when I needed it. Did you know that there are support services for pretty much anything you need while at Uni? And most of them are FREE? I guarantee there are university support staff who want to help you with your well-being. I can guarantee this because I am one of them.
One thing I don’t regret about university is the amount of fun I had. This was mostly through the great friends that I met while I was at uni and the shenanigans we got up to in and outside of class (never disruptive shenanigans in class, because that would have been disrespectful, but plenty of inside jokes.) I think one of the things that made us laugh the most in first year was one of our text books with the title: ‘Studying Highly Industrialised Tourism Systems’. (If your brain is acronym-inclined you will get why we laughed so hard).
To help you avoid the same mistakes I made, here are some helpful links and resources to ensure you don’t regret your time at uni:
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.